The Annual Coordination Meeting of the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) was held in person on Tuesday 28 February 2023 in Strasbourg, France. It brought together local representatives from Council of Europe member states, coming from municipalities that have taken an active part in this Congress initiative in the past year.
Congress Secretary General, Mathieu Mori, opened the meeting by congratulating all 64 local authorities and associations that organised more than 276 activities during last year’s ELDW edition, even in the light of the current challenges – war, inflation, energy crisis – European societies are facing. “Through your inclusive projects and events, you contributed to making ELDW a truly pan-European initiative aimed at enhancing the participation of all citizens, without discrimination of any type. You are on the right track in building sustainable and resilient communities, that are strong, united, and make the most of their diversity”, he stressed.
Most of the meeting was dedicated to evaluating the 2022 ELDW edition, that was organised under the theme “Protecting the environment: local communities take action”. Participants presented their best practices, with some Ukrainian and Turkish municipalities taking part with video messages.
Choosing a theme for the 2023-2024 editions of the ELDW was also on the agenda of this meeting. In this regard, Congress Thematic Spokesperson on the ELDW, Bryony Rudkin (United Kingdom, SOC/G/PD), led discussions on proposals for the new theme, which will focus on building democratic resilience at the local level. “The current crises and the challenges that come with them compel us to build stronger resilience that make us able to prevent, resist, and adapt to crises, but also to bounce back quickly from them once they are finished”, she said.
An award ceremony marked the end of the meeting. The title “Partner of the European Local Democracy Week 2022” was awarded to 21 municipalities and associations of Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Türkiye, Malta, and Ukraine in recognition of their commitment to the ELDW and of their work for the promotion of local democracy.
The European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) is a pan-European initiative co-ordinated by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe since 2007. Throughout the year, municipalities and their national associations are invited to organise initiatives all over Europe aimed at promoting citizen participation, fostering dialogue between the community and public authorities, strengthening trust in elected representatives and institutions and providing a European dimension to local initiatives. A flagship event takes place during the week of 15 October, the date of the signature of the European Charter of Local Self-Government in 1985.